Venue: Cargo, Shoreditch, London Date: 15/11/10 Link: Casiotone for The Painfully Alone Website. All good things must come to an end, and Owen Ashworth’s performance at Cargo signified just that - the end of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone. His farewell tour marks the end of a 13-year career complete with five albums, the alluring sound of melancholy and one the best names in music. As much as I hate the idea of a farewell tour (let’s face it, the narcissistic premise is equalled only by reunion tours) clearly the packed out venue attests to the merits of lo-fi bedroom synth-pop – I can’t see that being a ‘Topman revival trend’ in 20 years. As his poundland synths are arranged on a table swamped with a tangle of cables, Mr. Casiotone walks onto the dimly lit small stage just as his moniker suggests, alone. Fashioning his trademark red plaid shirt, thickset build and full beard, Owen slowly stutters into a set of trademark toy keyboard sounds and beeping drum machines, which is great, until the whole premise starts to become repetitious and ultimately dull. Sure the intensity, witty lyrics and melancholy were all there in plenty, but I couldn’t help but feel the performance needed more variety – especially when most of the time he seemed virtually inactive, seeming just to awkwardly press ‘play’. Bedroom music should only be played and made in a bedroom, and as such failed to work in a venue setting. This said, what more can you ask for? CFTPA is an acquired and unique taste perfectly replicated on stage; after all, it would hardly be fitting for Owen to wheel out a full brass band. Instead, as I came to learn, the beauty of a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone performance is its intimacy. Indeed, the highlight was undoubtedly Owen’s humble yet humorous between-song stage banter. His stories about cakes and gig riders were almost as entertaining as any of his lyrics. Best of all, the whole gig was devoid of any form of embarrassing rock cliché (see stale farewell gig script ‘I jus’ wanna’ thank all you guys so much…blah blah), so much so that I didn’t leave wanting to ‘be’ him, only to be his friend. If nothing else, the gig taught me that the sound of depression has never been so alluring and, judging by the elated reactions of the crowd, enjoyable.